Develop and message your pro-Earth, pro-animal, pro-worker stance

Ethics play an increasing role in what meat, seafood and center-store departments sell. How much should ethics influence your grocerant menu planning and food sourcing?

Your customers may care more than you think. With animal abuse, threats to marine species, child labor and water waste widely deplored—plus a consummate rise in the number of U.S. vegetarians for ethical reasons—retail eateries that take positions on these issues can help make a difference and stand apart from competitors.

Grocerants that aim to be ethically sound, and satisfy growing numbers of consumers who buy and eat foods according to their beliefs, have multiple issues to consider:  Sustainability. Animal abuse. Labor practices. Water management.

“Eating ethically means giving moral consideration to those on your plate,” Dr. Jonathan Wadley, founder, America For Animals, said at a recent University of San Diego ethical food consumption event.

Check your grocerant practices against questions like these:

  • Does our parent retailer have ethical food policies in place?
  • If yes, are they for specific departments only? What might make sense to emulate?
  • Do we hold food and beverage suppliers accountable for unethical behaviors?
  • Do our customers want us to be more proactive on food ethics?
  • Do any nearby competitors – including outside restaurants – have ethical food practices?
  • Are our food sourcing and culinary teams knowledgeable enough on these issues to establish ethical food policies?
  • Where can we find training?

Here are some Web links to help frame your ethics initiatives:

Grocerants that take steps to ethically source and menu-plan should post signs and message on social media to get credit for their stance.  

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